M A I N   N E W S

CBI lays hands on crucial documents
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, April 14
The Central Bureau of Investigation has reportedly taken into custody crucial documents from the Forest Hill Golf Resort that were so far not available to the CBI while it had carried out its investigations in the case in the past year and a half. The documents relate to the resort, its original land use and the subsequent changes, said well-placed sources in the CBI.

Meanwhile, senior-level officials of the CBI headquarters, Delhi, also visited the Chandigarh office of the CBI regarding the case and its findings. The Forest Hill Golf Resort is owned by a Sector 10 resident, Col B.S. Sandhu (retd).

Also the CBI has taken into its custody documents relating to properties, some jewellery, cash and small amount of gold from the houses of government officers where raids were conducted yesterday. It may be recollected that the CBI had yesterday raided the homes of IAS officers, Mr S.C. Agarwal and Mr K.B.S. Sidhu along with the Indian Forest Services officers, Mr Harsh Kumar and Mr G.S. Samundri.

Sources said the CBI teams recovered jewellery worth Rs 18 lakh from the house of Mr Agarwal and also more than 35 bottles of whisky. The CBI asked the Chandigarh Police to register a case under the Excise Act for the same. Senior functionaries of the Chandigarh Police confirmed that an FIR under the Excise Act was registered late last night in the matter. It is being verified by the CBI if the jewellery belonged to family members of Mr Agarwal or his wife. Its date of purchase was also being checked up.

A bank locker of Mr K.B.S. Sidhu was opened in the presence of his wife yesterday and some documents relating to property purchases were also taken into custody by the CBI. Though the CBI is tight-lipped about the findings, sources said the exact market value of the property and its date of purchase was being verified today. A report is being prepared that will be submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The CBI headquarters has asked its team here not to register any case of disproportionate assets against the IAS officers as the focus of the original case relating to violations of the Forest Hill case would be lost. The CBI had been given the specific task of finding out the Forest Hill case and linking these jewelleries and properties to that may be a tough task, said a source.

It may be mentioned that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has taken a tough stance against the CBI. The Chief Minister has regretted the high-handedness shown by the CBI while raiding two IAS officers. He has said that the CBI was unnecessarily targeting two capable and upright officers of the Punjab Government.

The Chief Minister has also said that the CBI had exceeded its brief as the purpose of Punjab and Haryana High Court directive was not this.

It may be mentioned that Rs 100 crore Forest Hill Golf Resort and Country Club was allegedly constructed on forest land at Karoran village on the north-western outskirts of Chandigarh in complete violations of all norms. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had asked the CBI in October 2004 to form a special team.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court here had ordered the closure of the club, taking suo-motu notice of media reports on the building and the members of the club. This was partially opened by an order of the Supreme Court. 


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